Ted Muench is our guest blogger today with his Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon review. As with our other Help Wanted applicants we ask that you share your thoughts on his post in the comments as well as online where you can find Jordan at @sofistron
Looking into Hillrock Estate Distillery’s history you’ll find it is very short. But the estate upon which it’s situated, located in the Hudson Valley of New York State, has a history that dates back to the early 19th century. Barley and rye are still grown on-site and are used to craft their whiskeys. The Georgian mansion situated on the property was built in 1806 by a Revolutionary war captain and, ironically, successful grain merchant. It has been restored to its former glory and now serves as the focal point for the Distillery’s homage to meticulous craftsmanship.
Currently there are three products being produced by the Hillrock Estate Distillery – a Single Malt Whiskey, a Double Cask Rye Whiskey, and last but certainly not least, a solera aged bourbon.
While I can’t wait to eventually sample the Single Malt and the Rye, the solera aged bourbon is what I’m enjoying today. It was the first of the three whiskeys made available to the public, and they have this to say about it on their site:
Solera – a stack of barrels where a small portion of whiskey is removed periodically and new whiskey is added. No barrel is ever fully emptied, and age and complexity gradually increase over time. Hillrock marries small barrel –aged Hillrock Estate Bourbon with mature seed bourbon before finishing in 20 year-old Oloroso Sherry casks to balance flavors and add layers of complexity.
The resulting spirit offers a pronounced nose of caramel, dried fruit, vanilla, oak and spice, accented by an elegant floral note. The full-bodied palate opens with rich notes of brown sugar, molasses and toffee, followed by roasted corn, clove, cinnamon and a touch of spicy rye. Oloroso sherry notes of walnut, fig and candied fruit merge with caramel and butterscotch on the long, balanced finish. Current average age of the Hillrock Solera Bourbon is over 6 years and the rye content is approximately 37%.
So, let’s get to the “enjoying” part…
Name: Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey
Proof: 92.6 proof / 46.3% ABV
Age: 6+ years average
How I Drank It: Neat, in a Glencairn Whisky Glass.
Nose: Sweet vanilla toffee, red cherry, a hint of cinnamon and an underlying oak spiciness.
Taste: Strong oak, sweet corn, giving way to maple syrup and a warm spicy rye finish.
The Burn: Nice and even. Coating your tongue and forming a little non-nuclear furnace at the back of your throat. It’s very pleasant but surprisingly short.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: I usually prefer my bourbon neat, but I have to admit a few drops of water enhanced the sweet flavors of this bourbon bringing out the brown sugar and toffee while relegating those dryer, spicier flavors to the back seat.
Share With: Good friends who can appreciate the complexities of a fine bourbon.
Worth The Price: I won’t lie – this is a spendy bottle of juice at $85-$100. I think there are better bourbons for less, but I don’t regret impulse-buying it. Will I pick up another bottle when the current well runs dry? Timing and my wallet will be the judge.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you’re able to put up the pelf, I highly recommend picking up a bottle… In fact, if you do, put it someplace prominent to show it off! But if you’re on the fence about the price, try it at your local whiskey bar first, and then let the bourbon fall where it may.
For those who would like to compare this whiskey to another solera aged whiskey, Blade and Bow also uses this unique system to produce their bourbon.